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PHOTO CAPTION: Pair of Mahindra Reva e2o electric cars.

The Challenge of Fostering India's Electric Vehicle Infrastructure

Naren Karunakaran reports on the status of India's slow push towards an EV world.

Published: 07-Feb-2014

The electric vehicle (EV) lexicon is expanding. The much bandied 'range anxiety' conveys the fear of running out of charge and being stranded with a comatose battery. Now, employees at the Silicon Valley campus of SAP, the enterprise software giant, have given rise to a new quirky term: 'charge rage'.

SAP had installed 16 charging ports for EVs at its campus in 2010. Since then, the number of EV owners has shot up to 61. Inevitably, employees jockey for the few ports available, sometimes even pulling out cables midcharge to juice up their own cars. Instances of angry spats induced by charge, or the lack of it, are now common.

Thirty SAP employees at Bangalore's Whitefield campus who bought cars under a company policy initiative are a luckier lot. Almost all have a captive charger in the campus. This privileged lot also draws a green allowance of Rs 6,000 a month from the company as contribution to their electric car's EMI for three years; they pay an average of about Rs 2,000. "Electric vehicles is integral to our approach in sustainability," says Anirban (Andy) Dey, managing director of SAP Labs India. "It percolates across, as a culture, in everything we do." And employees are making the most of it. Sameer Ali Khan, a development manager, never charges his car at home. "It's always done on campus. It's free," he says, with a grin. By doing so, he saves around Rs 800 a month on electricity bills.

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